The Stunning Secret of Sybill Trelawney
Hermione and her husband, Severus Snape, slowly walked across the grounds of Hogwarts toward the gate. It was a cloudy day as usual, the sky low, angry and gray. They had just finished having a parent/teacher meeting with Headmistress Minerva McGonagall and Professor Sybill Trelawney about an "incident" involving their son Mathias, age 11, who had hexed antlers onto the heads of half of Gryffindor house in Sybill's Divination class. He refused to remove them after adding a signature to the spell that would only allow him to reverse the spell.
Mathias' gift with charms was his mother's fault. She had homeschooled him well. The nastiness of his spellwork was completely attributable to his father, who thought his son should be supremely prepared for the eminent idiocy of Gryffindor house while at Hogwarts. He'd been sorted into Slytherin after all.
"Flick and swish," Snape purred as his son became proficient in antler placement using nifflers for target practice. Of course, Mathias grudgingly removed the antlers when his incensed mum became involved. Both Hermione and Minerva were Gryffindor alumni, and Mathias' strategic placement of assorted antlers on the heads of the latest clutch of Godric's gifts to the wizarding world didn't go over well, although Snape was delighted as his black eyes surveyed the gaggle of sullen first year Gryffindors sporting deer, antelope and moose antlers in the Great Hall. He didn't say as much, but was smirking as Hermione scowled at him.
"I see Sybill is still making her wooly predictions," Hermione said disapprovingly. Divinations had been the one class she never excelled at. In fact, she'd bailed on the subject completely years ago, and from that moment to this, she blamed Sybill for mucking up her grade point average because she wasn't a good teacher or a true seer. "The least Minerva could do would be to appoint a Divination teacher that can actually divine."
Snape frowned slightly at Hermione, but didn't reply to her comment as he opened the gate and let her pass through, then followed her from the school grounds. Hermione turned to him, her brown eyes a little hard.
"You've got to stop encouraging Mathias to hex Gryffindors at every turn. He needs to learn how to let things go, roll off his shoulders. He can't meet every confrontation with magic," she chided Snape.
His calm expression didn't change.
"I am not 'encouraging' him," Snape replied. "It's purely genetics and a bit of math. He doesn't like Gryffindors for the most part and Gryffindors plus stupidity equals hex. And you are wrong about Sybill."
The last part of Snape's statement surprised Hermione.
"What? You despise Sybill!" she exclaimed. "You've said as much."
"Yes, I do. But that has nothing to do with her divination abilities. It was years of unwelcome, drunken pursuits of my person that resulted in my personal dislike of her. But I do not allow my personal feelings to cloud the truth concerning her gift. Sybill is a Seer of some consequence."
"What? You have to be joking!" Hermione exclaimed.
"No, I'm not joking, and I will prove it to you tonight after dinner. I must return to the apothecary shop. I'm losing Galleons."
"I have to get back to the Ministry, but you're going to have a very hard time convincing me that Sybill is anything other than a scarf-slinging fraud. One little vague prophecy does not a seer make," Hermione declared. Then she stood up on her toes and kissed Snape's pale cheek.
"I'll see you at home," she said, and Disapparated.
Snape stood there a moment. Even after thirteen years of marriage, the place where Hermione's lips touched his skin . . . still burned.
After a nice supper of Shepherd's pie, Snape and Hermione withdrew to Snape's library. Snape pulled out a chair for his skeptical wife to sit down at the work desk, then placed another chair beside her. He then walked over to a massive wall of floor to ceiling bookshelves, surveyed them for a moment, then pulled out his wand.
He pointed it at a massive tome.
"Accio," he said softly.
The book removed itself from the shelf and floated down to Snape, who caught it and carried it over to the table. He plunked it down in front of Hermione heavily, making her jump before he sat down, his lip curled.
Hermione studied the title.
"The Magical Big Book of Wizarding Geneology," it read. She frowned slightly.
"Open the book on the 'T' section and find Sybill Trelawney," Snape directed.
Hermione opened the book and found a list of surnames that began with T. There was a long list of names in alphabetical order. She first located "Trelawney," then quickly located Sybill's name.
"Got it," she said.
"Good, now tap it with your finger," Snape instructed.
Hermione did so, and the page went blank for a moment.
"I'd move back if I were you," Snape warned, drawing his chair back from the table. Hermione quickly followed suit and good thing she did. A small but sturdy tree burst from the pages, filling the library with branches.
"Where did you get this book?" Hermione breathed, looking at the tree. Instead of leaves, it had leaf-shaped parchments with names on them.
"One of my better acquisitions," Snape replied as he stood up and walked around the tree, looking at the leaves. "Ah, here it is."
He touched a leaf and a ghost-like image of Sybill Trelawney appeared, blinking around through her glasses, her magnified eyes bug-like as usual. Pale scarves dangled from her thin wrists.
"That's Sybill," Hermione said, a little crease of dislike appearing in her forehead.
"Yes," Snape agreed, touching the leaf again.
Sybill's image disappeared as light raced up select branches of the tree, images of other people appearing and disappearing as Snape tapped Sybill's leaf again and again, making the light move upward.
"These people are Sybill's ancestors," Snape explained. "I don't have a direct line, so I have to go through all of them to reach who I'm looking for, although she is only four generations removed."
Finally he stopped at the image of a stunning woman dressed in Grecian garb made of fine linen, her red, curling hair done up with ornaments. She was very fair-skinned and of elegant bearing. Her lovely blue eyes squinted just a little.
"This is Cassandra, Sybill's great grandmother," Snape told Hermione.
Hermione blinked at the beautiful woman standing before her.
"Clearly, Sybill didn't inherit her genes," Hermione said. "She's beautiful."
"Cassandra was considered the second most beautiful woman in the world, compared to Helen of Troy. She was compared to Aphrodite as well. Her beauty was renowned," Snape said softly as he gazed at the image.
"But the Grecian period was much farther back than four generations," Hermione claimed. "How could she possibly be Sybill's great grandmother?"
Snape arched an eyebrow.
"She had a very long lifespan. She was a witch, plus she was favored by the gods which gave her quite a few extra years," he said.
"The gods? Really, Severus. Gods?"
"There are more things in heaven and earth than we can possibly know," Snape replied. "After all, we are considered to be myths and legends ourselves. Few people believe in magic unless they are 'in the know.' Then they add on demons and devil worship because they fear what they don't understand. Regardless, we exist. Is it so hard to believe the gods do, or did as well?"
"All right, I'll suspend my disbelief for now," she said, interested.
"Watch," Snape said as a shimmering scene unfolded around the woman. She was standing in a meadow on a bright sunlit day. The sun was shining very brightly above her. It drew very close, turning the entire meadow golden. The light died out and an incredibly handsome golden-haired man in fine linens stood before Cassandra, who turned to run. In a flash he was in front of her and quickly dropped to one knee, beseeching her, taking her hand.
"That is the sun god Apollo. Apparently, he got the hots for her," Snape said, his lips quirking.
"Severus, don' t make jokes. You aren't good at them," Hermione said sourly.
Snape smirked. He was good at making jokes actually, but he liked to annoy Hermione. Some things never changed.
There was no sound but it was clear Apollo was enchanted with Cassandra.
"While trying to woo Cassandra, Apollo gave her the gift of prophecy," Snape explained. "Unfortunately, Cassandra had taken a vow of chastity and being of a virtuous nature, didn't tell him. Apollo was not pleased when he found out."
The scene changed. It was the same meadow but this time dried and browned from an Apollo-inspired drought. He was there, god-sized, looking down on a cowering Cassandra. He pointed a finger at her and snarled something, then was gone.
"Having given Cassandra a gift, he could not take it away," Snape said softly. "So instead he cursed Cassandra so no one would believe her prophecies. She was considered beautiful, intelligent but insane. The gift was passed on to her offspring, but so was the curse. Obviously, the vow of chastity didn't last."
The scene done, the images faded and the tree descended with a roar back into the book. Hermione blinked at Snape.
"You really expect me to believe this?" she asked him. "You want me to believe that Sybill Trelawney is a seer that's under a curse . . . from a god, no less. Bollocks!"
"Let us look at the evidence," Snape purred. "The year Harry was a contestant in the Triwizard tournament, Trelawney warned him that the thing he dreaded the most would come sooner than he feared, and Voldemort returned."
"Coincidence," Hermione muttered.
"She also predicted dark times ahead for Umbridge, who was carried off by centaurs," Snape continued.
"Coincidence," Hermione said again.
Snape's face hardened slightly.
"Dumbledore constantly dismissed Sybill's warning about lightening striking the dark tower and calamity coming closer. As you know, he died, by my hand, in the Astronomy Tower," Snape said with deceptive softness.
Hermione didn't say 'coincidence' this time. Her husband still felt the pain of that act, which was done at the request of the Headmaster, who was dying anyway.
Snape kept going.
"Sybill also predicted the deaths of the first persons to rise whenever 13 were gathered dining together. This happened three times, Hermione. First to Sirius Black, who dined with 12 other members of the Order, then to Albus Dumbledore who raised his voice when Minerva and Trelawney were arguing, and lastly to Remus Lupin, who was the first of thirteen people to rise and go look for Moody's body on the night of the Seven Potters. You believe that to be coincidence?"
"It could be," Hermione replied. "We were all in danger then. Some deaths were inevitable."
Snape picked up the Magical Big Book of Wizarding Geneology.
"Perhaps . . . not all," he said, his dark eyes glittering. "Perhaps, if we had believed . . ."
Snape's voice trailed off as the image of a green-eyed, red-haired girl flashed into his consciousness for a moment. He loved Hermione, but he would never ever forget Her.
Hermione watched her husband put the book away, lifting it with his wand and directing it back into its waiting space. She could feel what he did not say, and her heart went out to him.
A few days later, Hermione felt compelled to visit Professor Trelawney. She wasn't sure if it were guilt or curiosity that compelled her, but she just had to see the Divinations professor.
After making her way up the long stairwell to access the North Tower where the teacher lived, Hermione was just about to knock on the door when a voice rang out, "Come in!"
Surprised, Hermione opened the door.
Sybill stood there, a large silver tea tray in her thin hands. On the tray were four freshly baked scones and clotted cream. In fact, the scones were so fresh, heat was still rising from them. They smelled delicious.
Sybill smiled at Hermione.
"Hermione," she said as Hermione closed the door then turned back to look at her, "I've been expecting you. Come in, and make yourself at home."
"Thank you," Hermione said, looking a bit confused.
Sybill walked into her quarters which looked surprisingly like an opium den, complete with soft oriental music playing in the background. The spicy scent of incense filled the air, as did the scent of candles which were not lit but resting in holders all around the room. The aroma wasn't unpleasant at all. Draperies, throw pillows, ottomans and silk coverings abounded.
Sybill set the tea tray on the table and gestured toward the plush chairs and sofas.
Hermione took one near the table as Sybill beamed at her.
In that smile and those magnified blue eyes, Hermione could see remnants of Sybill's great grandmother's beauty. How hadn't she seen it before?
Hermione couldn't help but smile back at Sybill, who said, "Hermione, I never told you this, because you would have never believed me, but we're going to be the very best of friends."
* * *
A/N: I was inspired to write this short piece because Sybill Trelawney isn't given enough credit. She does have the sight, it's just that no one believes her or takes her seriously. If you'd like to research this for yourself, google "Quotes by and about Sibyll (Sybill*) Trelawney" and read the quotes. You'll find that she did predict many things that actually happened but alas, no one paid attention or believed her. Especially Minerva. The fact that JKR named her great grandmother Cassandra seems intentional (she was locked up in a high tower, considered a crazy woman when she foresaw the Trojan War when she saw Helen of Troy and fell screaming warnings in the court of her father) and a clue to Sybill's secret, that she really can see into the future. Thanks for reading!